Grateful Gnome brewery in Berkeley pushes back opening after nearby project’s scaffolding damages roof

The owner of a Denver brewery asked Denverite to use several expletives to describe a developer today after three stories of scaffolding from a nearby site collapsed onto the roof of the building.

The Grateful Gnome in Denver's Berkeley neighborhood has to push back its open date to a scaffolding collapse at an adjacent site, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)
The Grateful Gnome in Denver's Berkeley neighborhood has to push back its open date to a scaffolding collapse at an adjacent site, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)
The Grateful Gnome in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood has to push back its open date to a scaffolding collapse at an adjacent site, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)

Bess Dougherty, head brewer of The Grateful Gnome, was deeply shaken Monday after a wooden board shot through the roof of the new Berkeley brewery, only inches away from her.

Fortunately, she and others inside were unharmed Monday after three stories of scaffolding from a nearby site collapsed onto the roof of the building. The building itself wasn’t as lucky.

The owner of Grateful Gnome, Daniel Appell, said the structural integrity of the brewery near the southwest corner of West 44th Avenue and Stuart Street has to be inspected. Appell originally planned for his brewery to be ready by July 1, but now he’s unsure when he’ll open its doors.

“We’re still trying to figure it out,” Appell said. “We’re just assessing how bad it is. We might have to rip the whole roof off the place and replace it.”

A wooden board through the roof of The Grateful Gnome in Denver's Berkeley neighborhood, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)
A wooden board through the roof of The Grateful Gnome in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood, June 13, 2017. (Adrian D. Garcia/Denverite)

Construction workers were using the scaffolding west of Grateful Gnome to work on the residential project going up at 4390 Tennyson St. before the scaffolding collapsed Monday afternoon.

“When it happened I was just outside the garage door, and it sounded like a bomb went off in the building,” Appell said.

The city of Denver said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Housing Administration has purview over the incident and that the Community Planning and Development does not provide permits or inspections for scaffolding.

“Based on what we know so far, there are not any fines or citations coming from CPD. We will continue to monitor the situation though,” said Laura Swartz, department spokeswoman.

OSHA did not immediately respond to a Denverite inquiry Tuesday.

Denver developer Michael Mathieson, bought the site where the scaffolding fell for $475,000 in 2012. The city approved a plan in 2016 for a four-story, 47-unit apartment building on the property,  according to city records.

Mathieson said the scaffolding collapsed Monday after a gust of wind caught a screen on the scaffolding.

Appell asked Denverite to use several expletives to describe Mathieson and his feelings toward the developer. The brewery owner expects Mathieson to cover expenses for repairing the damage.

“It’s going to cost him,” Appell said. “I’m going to go forward. There’s no turning back. I’m too close.”

Mathieson said he plans to start removing the scaffolding Wednesday and said he’s already reached out to his and his contractor’s insurance to cover the damages.

“I completely understand Dan’s frustration, he has been through a lot trying to get his business open and this only adds to it,” Mathieson said.

“However,” he added, “I am extremely grateful the head brewer was not injured. I spoke to her yesterday and sincerely apologized for what happened. She was obviously upset and I feel terrible about it.”

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.